CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the first National Handloom Day at a national level function in Chennai on Friday.
The program is being held in the prestigious Centenary hall of Madras University. The date August 7 has been chosen due to its special significance in India`s history; it was on this day that the Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905.
The formal proclamation of Swadeshi Movement was made on August 7, 1905, in a massive meeting in the Calcutta Town hall. The movement involved revival of domestic products and production processes. The Government of India has declared August 7 as National Handloom Day every year, in memory of this.
On the occasion of the first National Handloom Day, Prime Minister Modi will confer the Sant Kabir awards and National awards for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 to distinguished handloom personalities.
The observance of National Handloom Day and honouring of handloom weavers will not only provide an impetus to the handloom industry of India but would also serve to promote handloom as a genuine international product of good quality.
The Prime Minister will also launch ‘India Handloom’ Brand. An exhibition showcasing master creations of the awardees is also being inaugurated on the occasion in the adjacent senate building of Madras University.
The Handloom Day will be celebrated all over the country in cooperation with state governments.
India has one of the finest textile traditions in the world. The handloom industry of India is as old as our civilisation itself and boasts of a lot of living traditions to this day. Handloom weaving is one of the largest economic activities after agriculture, providing direct and indirect employment to more than 43 lakh weavers and allied workers. The sector contributes to nearly 15% of the cloth production in the country and also contributes to the country’s export earnings. 95% of the world’s hand woven fabric comes from India.
The handloom forms a precious part of our generational legacy and exemplifies the richness and diversity of our country and the artistry of our weavers. The tradition of weaving by hand is a part of the country’s cultural ethos. The handloom sector has a unique place in our economy. It has been sustained by transferring skills from one generation to another. The strength of the sector lies in its uniqueness, flexibility of production, openness to innovations, adaptability to supplier’s requirements and the wealth of its tradition.
The Government of India, since independence, has been following a policy of promoting and encouraging the handloom sector through a number of programmes and schemes. Due to various policy initiatives and scheme interventions like cluster approach, aggressive marketing initiative and social welfare measures, the handloom sector has shown positive growth and the income level of weavers has improved.
National Awards: Every year up to 20 national awards and 20 national merit certificates are given to outstanding handloom weavers. The national award consists of a certificate, angavastram, copper plaque and cash award of one lakh rupees. National merit certificate consists of certificate and cash award of Rs. 50,000. 25 weavers were conferred national award for the year 2011 by the President of India in a function held on 1/7/2014 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
Sant Kabir Award: This award is being conferred from 2009 onwards to outstanding handloom weavers who have made valuable contribution in keeping alive the handloom heritage and also for their dedication in building up linkages between the past, present and the future through dissemination of knowledge on traditional skills and designs.
Each award consists of one mounted gold coin, tamrapatra, one shawl and a citation. In addition, financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 6.00 lakh is also given to each Sant Kabir awardee to innovate and create ten new products of high level of excellence. Two weavers have been conferred Sant Kabir award by the President of India in a function held on 1/7/2014 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.